The long awaited report of the conference committee considering the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 was just released. It is available here: https://rules.house.gov/conference-report/s-2943
The conference version of the NDAA includes a great many significant changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In particular, the legislation adopts many – but not all – of the changes proposed by the Military Justice Review Group.
Some significant notes:
• The conference version does not eliminate members sentencing in non-capital cases. Instead, § 5182 amends Article 25 to give the accused the option to elect sentencing by members (when trial was before members) after the findings are announced.
• § 5164 of the conference version amends Article 20 to state that “a summary court-martial is a non-criminal forum. A finding of guilty at a summary court-martial does not constitute a criminal conviction.”
• § 5205 modifies a staff judge advocate’s pretrial advice to require only a probable cause determination rather than the current conclusion that “the specification is warranted by the evidence.”
• § 5330 modifies Article 66 to require automatic review by the courts of criminal appeals only in cases that include death, dismissal, a dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge, or confinement for two years or more. In cases involving confinement for more than six months
or more (but less than two years) an accused may petition for review.
Edited to add: • § 5330 also preserves the requirement that a CCA “may affirm only such findings of guilty, and the sentence or such part or amount of the sentence, as the Court finds correct in law and fact and determines, on the basis of the entire record, should be approved.”
• § 5301 modifies Article 56 to allow the prosecution to appeal a sentence on the grounds that “(A) the sentence violates the law; or (B) the sentence is plainly unreasonable.”
• § 5301 modifies Article 56 requires a sentence adjudged by a military judge alone to be segmented (confinement and fine only) by offense. Where sentencing is by members, the court-martial will continue to adjudge a single sentence for all offenses.